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Is indoor air quality worse in the winter?

During the winter, when people say they have “cabin fever,” they usually mean that they feel eager to get outside after being cooped up at home for too long. But what if part of the reason people experience this “fever” is due to poor indoor air quality? During the coldest months of the year, there are reasons to believe that indoor air may decline in quality compared to warmer seasons.

Bacteria walks right in

In 2016, researchers at the University of Arizona studied the role of people’s shoes in carrying bacteria from outside to inside. They examined 26 shoes that participants had worn over three months and discovered an average of 421,000 units of bacteria per shoe.

Then they looked at how much of the bacteria was transferred inside when people continued to wear their shoes indoors. The research team found that nearly all of the bacteria—90 percent!—found its way onto the floor surface.

Particles get stirred up

Whether you warm your home with a furnace, boiler or fireplace, it’s likely that your heating system stirs up dust particles. This is particularly true with systems that blow heat through air ducts around the house. Among these particles are countless, tiny bits of allergens like pet dander, dead skin cells, dust mites and bacteria that make their way in from outside.

Windows remain sealed

Bacteria and other particles live indoors all year round. Yet during the warmer times of year, the air in indoor spaces can be refreshed by simply opening a window. In the winter, however, indoor dwellers keep their spaces sealed tight to prevent the cold from coming in. Sensible behavior, but by keeping doors and windows shut, potential allergens get sealed in, too.

Coway Airmega air purifiers offer Advanced Max2 dual HEPA carbon filters that can filter indoor air up to four times an hour. The purifiers remove 99.97 percent of particles up to 0.3 microns in size. As a result, you and your family can breathe clean air during the winter—and stay cozy inside until spring.